Q: Do Dutch women really wear the trousers?

A: Yes, a quick mental scan of my friends, mostly working women in their thirties, reveals that this is true! And not just metaphorically speaking.

Dutch women tend to wear (the) trousers. They even wear jeans to weddings! I have heard numerous complaints about this ‘unfeminine’ behaviour from foreign male friends who feel that Dutch women are too dominant. One guy even told me that a woman he was dating accused him of being sexist for holding the door open for her (‘she was perfectly capable of doing it herself’).

Foreign women say that as a consequence of this excessive emancipation, Dutch men expect them to pay half the restaurant bill and hang their own pictures up on the wall – something they are not overly impressed with! Ironically the single Dutch ladies I know want potential suitors to be more chivalrous and romantic. And so, the battle of the sexes and the clash of cultures continues …

Hedda Pier, 16 April 2012